All it takes is a little patience
All it takes is a little patience

In the summer of 2012, the Paralympics in London were considered to be a significant springboard for the understanding of disability, and the genuine desire for inclusive activity, be it sport or business or in fact anything where a little consideration and reasonable adjustment is required. We had a legacy from those games, which brought so much to so many through this event.

In the summer of 2016, I come to wonder what happened from then to now, and question the attitudes, once seen as so important, to one today where we find the return of ignorance and even resentment towards those with a disability.

It pains me greatly when I see or hear those with a disability ‘demanding’ this and ‘demanding’ that and I think how much more they would achieve by courtesy and politeness. This attitude is gathering more and more resentment and frankly, I can see why.

However, I recently attended an event. It was a pre-booked event in support of Austism. As my son has Autism – diagnosed at age 29 – we were looking for all the help, information and support we could find. I arrived at the venue with my son, who is also a wheelchair user to a mass of people, all milling about going about their business, even only half an hour after opening! The event was clearly popular and had many speakers and businesses promoting their particular specialism and I must applaud the organisers for pulling this together. Many of those who attended, were obviously teachers, business providers, local authorities as well as parents and even people with Autism themselves. As we tried to wheel around the venue, we were tutted at, cursed for taking up space argued with and insulted and just blocked from getting places we needed to.

Frankly, I was appalled that so many people, involved with and attending an event in support of disability could act and behave so easily in this way.

In that moment, I could understand why those disabled do ‘Demand’, as on this day being courteous was achieving nothing and we were made to feel so insignificant among these so called ‘professionals’ who will no doubt return to their business and profess a caring and supportive organisation.

The legacy of understanding and tolerance from 2012 is well and truly lost and clearly there is a significant erosion of the goodwill, and in some cases obligations to support disabled in an inclusive society.

Those who know me will know that it is not my style to ‘rant’, but I was hurt by this experience, and my son could not enjoy what should have been finding out new things and meeting new people, and I had to bring him out before he had a meltdown. I fear for his future without us as his Parent Carers and need to find a way to recapture a lost dream of that inclusive society, without the need to ‘just do it ourselves’.

My message to those who read this and have experienced anything similar is not to give in to the same behaviours, look for those aspects that works and then refocus your energies into trying to motivate change. For example, this was an excellent event in itself, and I am in dialogue now suggesting that next time they have a couple of hours of ‘limited admittance’ or ‘wheelchair only’ periods, like some other venues, which would have avoided the conflict we experienced. If I get a positive response, or even a response, I will consider this a success.

10 thoughts on “Patience

  1. I hear and understand your frustration, Paul!
    I have noticed, here also, that those who ‘purport to support’ are often there only because it is a job and it is so frustrating to see this aspect. Believe me I have seen it from behind the scenes in my role as an AV provider, and have been disgusted by it.
    Having said that there are some absolutely wonderful people out there that will ‘bend over backwards’, if necessary to accommodate and include everyone in any activity/event.
    So sorry that you and Marc have had this experience.

    1. Your right David, there are some very dedicated and warm hearted people, to who we do owe so much. This experience was more of the wrong place at the wrong time. We will learn how to plan better 🙂

  2. My blood is boiling at the behaviour of these so called supporters of disability causes. I wish I had been there, I’d have soon made a path through for you both.

    Keep your chin up Paul.

    All the best


    1. Your so kind Dougie, please don’t feel so bad. I guess we should have prepared better, but sadly it won’t be the last time we experience it, I’m sure 🙂

  3. Oh ! Paul, what a terrible shame that such an important event which could have been so positive and constructive turned out to be almost the opposite for you and Marc. I well appreciate your great disappointment and, yes, probably anger, at the attitude of some of those ‘professionals’ attending who should have shown understanding and consideration towards any disabled present. I have seen similar attitudes in the presence of severely disabled people and have ‘spoken out’ a few times. It is totally unacceptable and those offenders should consider themselves extremely fortunate not to be in a similar position. I really feel for you both and hope that you do receive a positive response from the event organisers.

  4. Try not to be disheartened Paul, it must have been a very frustrating day for you & Marc but perhaps those people were so wrapped up in needing to learn to do the right thing for people with autism that they failed to see what is actually important, ie the real person with the disability in front of them. I’m sure they had no insight into the hassle you experienced getting around the crowded venue. Able bodied people can’t begin to comprehend the difficulties encountered by wheelchair users.

    Maybe part of the problem is that the terms “autism” and “autistic spectrum” are banded about in the media with such frequency these days that maybe people assume the condition only applies to young children not realising that these children grow up to become adults with special needs.

    Hopefully you will get a positive response to your very sensible suggestion for a wheelchair users only session.

    Keep you chin up & don’t let the buggers get you down.

    1. Thank you so much for your support Julie, you are right, of course, and I shouldn’t ‘expect’ everyone to see through our eyes. I fear you are right also in that once a person reaches adult age, it is as if they’re disability stops and support dries up. Ah well another day brings another opportunity to influence for change 🙂

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